Railroad Earth | 06.05.08 | Georgia

Words by: Stephanie Jacoby | Images by: Ian Rawn

Railroad Earth :: 06.05.08 :: Variety Playhouse :: Atlanta, GA

Railroad Earth :: 06.05 :: Atlanta
Just five days before Railroad Earth's fourth album, Amen Corner (review here), was due to hit shelves, the highly-revered bluegrass-rock band introduced a few new songs and brought back some old favorites to one large, sweaty, fanatical crowd at the Variety Playhouse.

Opening the first set with "Been Down This Road" and closing it with "Bringin' My Baby Back Home," most folks would agree that the first set was primarily reserved for showcasing new, catchy tracks from their latest studio effort. The band strategically placed some of their more well known songs like "Elko" and "Dandelion Wine" in the middle of the set, which helped the audience to slowly digest the new music. One of the set's highlights was the bluesy twang of "The Hunting Song," which was elevated by John Skehan's mandolin and Andy Goessling's banjo plucking. But even with such an incredible repertoire in the first set, it didn't hold a candle to a second set that really brought the crowd to its knees.

The sextet opened the second half with a slow, savvy "New Lee Blues" that flowed straight into one of many smile-inducing songs, "Fiddlee." Those in attendance experienced an energizing violin solo early on. With Tim Carbone's fervent bow maneuvering and spastic string fingering, he managed to set the tone for a rowdy night of two-stepping, toe-tapping and do-si-do dancing, which further contributed to the stifling heat inside the building.

As Todd Sheaffer geared up to play "Bird In A House," the only audible noise was the high-pitched screams of the diehard Railroad Earth fans, which was soon muffled by Sheaffer's thick, soulful lyrics, "I want to sing my own song, that's all," accompanied by the sweet, sweet whine of Carbone's violin.

Tim Carbone - RRE :: 06.05 :: Atlanta
"We love to play in Atlanta. We're here about two to three times per year," Carbone said. "We really enjoy the energy, and we also have deep roots here. Our bassist [Johnny Grubb] was born and raised here, and our sound guy is from Atlanta, too. It's always fun to play here."

"Peace On Earth," another dance-inspiring tune, featured yet another exciting violin performance and a gorgeous blend of harmonies singing words that instilled a happy, carefree sensation into the hearts of the many boogie children down in front, who sang right along with every word.

After such an up-beat tune, the band slowed the pace with a powerful "Seven Story Mountain." Carey Harmon's on-tempo percussion kept in time with Sheaffer's voice as he belted the psalm-like lyrics: "Oh Lord, to see a light/ But fail in strength to follow/ Sometimes it's hard to let it go."

As the set came to a slow and steady close with "Right In Tune," it became abundantly clear that Railroad Earth fans treat this band as if it were a religion. Its "followers" enjoy, appreciate and find significant meaning in each poignant lyric. From this band, they garner both good feelings and a positive outlook on life while dancing and swaying to each powerful performance.

As the band returned to the stage to close out the night with an energetic "Mighty River," it was clear how Railroad Earth has earned this dedicated following. Even better, they are also truly appreciative of the people that support their music and help create this special connection.

JamBase | Georgia
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[Published on: 6/12/08]

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AZ~*Droo* starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/12/2008 02:17PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


a simply amazing band to say the least...

cascade_bob starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/12/2008 02:31PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Can't wait for the Portland, OR show. Infinite Productions + Railroad Earth = Euphoria!

Ter starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/12/2008 03:44PM
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Agreed Portland is going to be off the hook, Peak Productions and RRE... it's goin be a hot night next Friday!

Greatwaves Thu 6/12/2008 06:49PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i love this band and cant wait to see em at the Rothbury, yes i dont feel one once of remorse for skipping disco biscuits or EOTO to see these guys wail, i jjust hope that TImmy sits in with Greensky Bluegrass earlier that day to get the festi off on the right foot, because that KZoo show was one of the best of my 500 + career

Wild Turkey Thu 6/12/2008 07:22PM
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Wild Turkey

Denver this weekend, Yahheee!!!!

ReaganSector9 starstarstarstar Thu 6/12/2008 08:33PM
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Talented, talented band... Caught them a couple days ago at Blueberry Hill. Brought the house down: Tim Carbone is unreal at the fiddle.

minutes Thu 6/12/2008 09:37PM
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god bless From Good Homes. RRE is also killer.

jimmy row Fri 6/13/2008 06:05AM
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these guys were actaully the car behind me on the the way up to coventry....so i actually got to spend like 20 or so hours hanging out with them. Awesome musicians yes.....but also great guys as well.

fsefour starstarstarstar Fri 6/13/2008 06:06AM
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The opening set with the Codetalkers was also great -- Bobby Lee Rogers rips his guitar through that Leslie.

WSPilgrim Fri 6/13/2008 07:28AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

this is a great show indeed


looking forward to ALLGOOD

elRodNino starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/13/2008 07:45AM
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Twas a great show indeed, they always throw it down in the ATL! If you happen to have Comcast On Demand, go to Music / ConcertTV / Railroad Earth and there's a 40ish minute segment showing the new album, Amen's Corner, being made in this super-old house-turned-studio. It's really neat and sounds grrrrrrrrrrreat.

j-bizzle Fri 6/13/2008 07:57AM
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love these guys, can't wait for rothbury! too bad they hate chicago. screening us this summer for summerfest, which is valid, but then again in the fall for a tbd date in milwookie. what gives?

redhed starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/13/2008 11:24AM
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lovin the desolation row, always been one of my favs. one of the better covers of this song

kaiserbun starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/13/2008 10:06PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i was at this show and it was extremely good. review is extremely far off though. dandelion wine and elko were the second and third songs of the first set, not in the middle, and seven story mountain was not even played. not that it matters, but that's pretty bad when you say one of their most popular songs was played when it actually wasn't. i'm guessing you somehow mixed it up with like a buddha, not sure how though. oh well

RedHeaven starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/15/2008 03:30PM
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Nice to read a great review. I think this is THE BEST BAND ON THE PLANET right now!!! High Sierra is going to be the jewel of RRE along with Yarmony, and I cannot WAIT to dance all night to Railroad Mars again at High Sierra in the hall!!

All aboard? No, Im having the time of my life! ~U Utah Phillips (RIP)

galenpg Sun 6/15/2008 04:25PM
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saw the boys last night in denver. I've loved these guys for about 5 years now, and i gotta admit, i'm not so sure about the direction they took last night. they had an electric guitarist sitting in with them about 5/8 of the time, and i'm not sure who he was. he was good, but in my humble opinion didn't blend with the down to earth, homey feeling i'm used to getting from them. they also had a trumpet player sit in for a good bit of the set, and i felt the same way about him. one thing they DID do that was new that BLEW ME AWAY was bring out three beautiful soul singers for Mighty River...wow. i don't mean to criticize them too much, because i respect them as musicians, and of course, they are free to go in whichever direction they please. i only wanted to say that it was different(even different than the new album sounds), and personally, i like it when they stick to a more acoustic direction. it seemed clear that they were aching to play music that is usually played through electronic instruments.

Greatwaves Sun 6/15/2008 08:50PM
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i thnk the guitarist was Scott Law, Greensky was the shit last night the Sat PM was epic, and railroad broke new ground with those soul singers, also the trumpeter added to ANdys sax, i dug the show on iclips cant wait to see em this summer ... they are gonna keep getting bigger adn BIGGER

jambander Mon 6/16/2008 05:34AM
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rothbury decision: railroad > bisco

vespuchi2 starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/16/2008 09:32AM
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^^^ i have the same dilema and am leaning the same way as you

SilentMark Tue 6/17/2008 11:55AM
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galenpg, the guitarist, horns and backup singers were all part of the cd release shows in Denver, not a perm edition by any means. Having been on board with these guys since the gitgo, it is truly wonderful to see folks getting on board as well. See yinz in OR/WA, NJ represent yo !

pdids starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 01:34PM
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if anyone is in the Northeast, RRE just got added to an already stellar line-up at the UP NORTH FESTIVAL, in Hiram, ME. Should be a good time


barnburner Fri 6/20/2008 10:46AM
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RRE is phenomenal and the new album is great. The Variety show was a great time and has been mentioned, Bobby Lee Rodgers & The Codetalkers were a pretty disgusting opener. In fact, Tim sat in for a tune or two w/the Codetalkers, good stuff.

misterpi starstarstarstar Thu 6/26/2008 04:44PM
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Yo, i just got my tickets to see RRE on the 19th AND 20th of September at the Fox in boulder. Its on my Birthday and Im so Psyched!